A warm welcome to author M.Raiya joining us today to talk about their new release “Depth of Return”.
Welcome M. 🙂
Hi, I’m M. Raiya. Thank you so much for letting me pop into Love Bytes on my Depth of Return Blog Tour. Depth of Return, which released on September 5, is an urban fantasy novel set in northern Vermont, where I live. It’s the second book in the Another Healing series. The main characters of the first novel make an appearance, but Depth of Return’s characters are new and the novel stands alone. The two main characters, North and Alan, are a witch/demon pair, predestined before they were born to make magic together. But they don’t know this, and all kinds of problems start happening as they figure it out.
North is a recluse, living alone on an island in the middle of a pond, more than happy to let the world go on without him after he was betrayed and left for dead by the man he thought was his life’s partner. As North ventures out into the world again with Alan at his side, he finds that a lot has changed in the two years he’s been gone. One of the first things he has to deal with is the change that cars have undergone.
I don’t know much about cars, and I tend to get one that I like and then drive it until it can go no farther. When I went car shopping recently, I was flabbergasted. I felt like I was taking my laptop for a drive down the street. There were so many new gadgets that the saleslady had to spend an hour programming it to accept me as its owner. She even commandeered my phone and made it my new car’s best friend. I mean, I don’t even need my old garage door remote opener any longer. And the backup camera — I didn’t know it was in color until spring when the grass turned green. That threw me for a loop.
So I thought it would be fun to make North go through a little of that when he gets into a new car. He’s very old school and low tech, like me. This was one of my favorite scenes to write. It shows North’s dry humor at its best. I can’t tell you where he and Alan are going, or why, without giving away a spoiler, but here is North’s car scene for your enjoyment. North is borrowing his friend Arnold’s car, and his friends Orange and Randus have just brought it to him.
Orange handed me a set of keys.
“Thanks. Tell Arnold I shall endeavor to return his SUV unscathed.” I emphasized the letters.
“You’d better, or Jasmine will have your hide,” Orange said. “It’s brand new.”
“So I smell.” I knocked a little gravel off my sandals first and got in. The control panel looked like it belonged in a space shuttle. I counted three computer screens. “Damn. Does this thing have warp drive?”
“Nope. But you can Bluetooth your phone into it and program your destination into the GPS display here.” Randus pointed at one of the screens. “The top one gives you readouts about the car’s performance. And this one is the sound system.”
“You mean that’s a radio?” I shot him a dark look. His sports car was probably even fancier. “Show me the headlights and the wipers, and I’m good.”
“The lights come on automatically, and the wipers are right here. Front, back, and intermittent for both. Dimmer switch. Defogger is there. It’ll also defog your outside mirrors—”
“I can do that by putting down the window and using my sleeve.”
He ignored me. “Moonroof controls are up here. Temperature, inside and out. This is the direction you’re going.”
Shit. There was a control panel on the door that looked more complicated than the dashboard of my truck, and there was another on the ceiling above the windshield.
“Damn, Orange. Where do I put in my PIN number?”
“Well, there’s a code on the outside to unlock the doors if you leave your keys inside.”
“Don’t tell me. I won’t remember.”
“I wasn’t going to. Where’s your phone?”
“Huh?” I dug it out of my pocket. “I don’t want it programmed into the car. It’s complicated enough already.”
Orange laughed, leaned over me, and plugged my phone into a cord that disappeared under the center armrest. “This will just keep it charged.” He plopped it down into a cupholder next to me.
“I can send power into my phone whenever I need the damn thing,” I said.
“Well, in an emergency, that will be one less thing you have to do.”
“Fine,” I snapped. I drew a deep breath and checked the mirrors. Thank goodness Arnold and I were about the same height, so I didn’t have to mess with the electronic seats. There were even electronic switches on the inside rearview mirror. I could electrocute myself, and it would take the forensic lab a month to figure out how. Orange gave me a single key, but the fob on it looked as complicated as everything else.
“Most cars come like this now,” Orange said. “Get used to it. You should think about trading your truck next fall. I have a feeling you’ll be on the road a lot this winter.”
“Right,” I said and vowed to keep my trusty old clunker going forever. I stuck the key in the ignition.
“Umm. Don’t hit the red button,” Randus said.
“Thanks for the warning.” I started the engine. The air was rent with so many alarm tones that I wondered if the police would automatically come. Jade barked.
“Fasten your seat belts,” Orange said.
That killed some of them.
“Oh. The washer fluid is low. You should probably pick some up in town.”
“Arnold is a cheapskate. Is this going to be going off the whole time?”
“No,” Orange said as it stopped beeping. He pointed to one of the displays, which read, “Welcome, North and Alan.”
“What the fuck?”
“I programmed that. Thought you’d like it.”
I moaned as the words were replaced by a clock and a bunch of numbers about fuel efficiency that I couldn’t care less about. I shut my door and fumbled for a moment. It took a while to get the window to power down. “Good luck, guys,” Orange said. “We’re with you.”
“Thanks,” I said. I caught both their eyes and we exchanged quick nods. Okay. Time to go. I put the car in reverse. Instantly one of the screens showed me a detailed color image of everything behind me. Unbelievable. I ignored it and backed around using my mirrors. I successfully shifted into drive, headed up the dirt road, and waved out my window. I heard a whooshing noise over my head and realized that Alan had opened the moonroof and was waving out of that.
So tell me, is anybody else as flummoxed by new cars as North and I am? Tell me about when technology left you behind, or ask me anything at all, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free book on my back list at Dreamspinner Press. Contest will close in 72 hours.
Thanks for reading.
Betrayed and left for dead by his lover, North has retreated to a secluded island to nurture his coven of witches and their demon partners. His group uses the magic of starlight to bring as much peace to the world as they can. It is enough. North has no desire to look for love again.
When an accident on a carpentry job reveals he is a demon, Alan Holsen is sent to North for training. Alan possesses a rare healing ability—one he might be able to use to close the old wounds in North’s heart. While North teaches Alan magic, Alan teaches North to love again, and they both struggle with leftover resonance of their haunted pasts.
Just when they dare to relax, North’s old enemy returns, and sets his sights on Alan. To save him North must enlist the aid of neighboring covens, and he learns he isn’t as alone as he thought. But in the end, only North’s love for Alan and the power of the stars have any chance of saving them.
Raiya knew she was a writer since second grade when her teacher kept her in for recess because “Somebody had better teach you about semicolons!” She started her first fantasy trilogy in fifth grade. She majored in writing in college, got her master’s degree in English, published some literary fiction, and fortunately emerged from all that with her imagination unscathed.
She is a native Vermonter and often needs four-wheel drive to reach her home on a dirt road in the mountains. Her other passions are birdwatching, nature photography, and swimming. When she’s not writing, she takes long walks with a big lens and a pair of binoculars, often standing motionless for hours waiting for the right lighting for the perfect shot, or climbing into places not meant to be climbed into for the right angle. Or she might be found in the nearby lake in the summer or a handy swimming pool in the winter, since she will turn into a mermaid if she doesn’t submerge at least once a day.
She is married and has two almost grown daughters, a cat who demands to lie between her and her computer whenever she dares to sit down, and a day job working with high school kids with special needs who frequently tell her that she is completely crazy, which she’s always known and definitely would not want to change.